Want to Have Fun? Give Yourself a Deadline
"Deadline" is a word that has many associations, and most of those are negative. Most people associate deadlines with work, a late night scramble to finish a term paper, or a task that is so awful there's no way you'd do it if you didn't have to.
With all of this negativity, why would you ever give yourself a deadline for something fun?
Because actually, deadlines are great motivators. In fact, experts say that if you really want to get something done and not put it off again and again, a deadline is a great way to achieve success. When you look at it that way, why not make deadlines for all of those fun things you've been meaning to do? (See also: Meeting Personal Deadlines)
Make Yourself Choose a Goal
A key step towards achieving any goal is having a goal in the first place. That might sound simple, but think about how often you change goals, especially when it comes to fun things. After all, the trip to Europe sounds good when you're hearing about one your friends just returned from, but learning to whitewater kayak seems like it would be a blast when you're watching it on TV, too. (See also: Goal Setting Defined and Deconstructed)
Giving yourself a deadline involves choosing a goal, because otherwise you don't have anything to set a deadline for. Setting a deadline makes us clarify what we are really thinking about and forces us to come up with an action plan for achieving that one (and ONLY that one) goal.
Setting a goal can be terrifying and exhilarating, all at once. All of this emotion makes it hard for some people to settle on a goal, though. Fortunately, there are many good questions you can ask yourself that will help you narrow down your goals and pick the ones that are the most meaningful to you.
Put Yourself on the Line
Creating a deadline and telling people about it means that your character and reputation are on the line if you don't achieve your goals. If you tell everyone on Facebook that you are headed to Europe in the fall, people are bound to ask what happened if you never mention it again.
You can even use social media to track your progress, by announcing when you've reached different steps towards your goal. Announce the percentage of money you've saved out of the total necessary to make your goal happen, or post updates as you do important things like booking hotels, getting plane tickets, etc.
If you're a diehard procrastinator, putting your reputation on the line may not be enough. You may need to do something drastic, like giving a friend a prized possession and telling him or her to keep it if you don't achieve your goal on time.
Make Sure You Have Time for Fun
In our world of overwork and busy-ness, it's all too easy to let play time vanish by the wayside. We think that fun is something we can put off, simply because it doesn't always fit into our schedules. However, fun is good for us. It helps us maintain our balance as human beings, and it provides space for our minds to think creatively. (See also: 25 Ways to Get Motivated Today)
If fun isn't happening, we need to put it in our schedules and give ourselves deadlines to make sure that we're playing along with our work. We want to be healthy, and fun helps us do that. Anything, then, that makes sure we include fun in our lives, is worth the effort of doing.
Even if you can't stomach setting a deadline for fun things, try setting deadlines for almost everything else in your life. When you have deadlines that you are achieving and you know when your next deadlines are and that you are working towards them, then you know exactly when and where you can play. Deadlines allow you to relax because you aren't always running from thing to thing. (See also: Too Busy to Read This Post?)
Whether deadlines are something you're comfortable with or not, there's no denying the fact that they will help you get done the things that you most want to get done. It's counterintuitive to apply deadlines to fun, but the truth is that they can help you get what you want out of life in that category, too. Even if you feel tentative, try it! After all, the worst that could happen is that it doesn't work for you.
Have you ever set yourself a deadline for fun? Tell us about it in the comments.
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